They turned the Empire State building green after the city made two major announcements last month. The first was that New York would divest its pension funds from investments in fossil fuel companies. The second and related announcement was that the Big Apple had filed suit against five leading, oil producing companies for contributing to climate change.
“The Empire State Building is shining green tonight because it’s time to put our planet first. #DivestNY,” tweeted Mayor Bill de Blasio who might be successful in out tweeting Donald Trump. Europe’s Green Party joined in, saying that European leaders should follow in the footsteps of the Big Apple.
A Worldwide Move to Divest!
The movement to divest from fossil fuel producers has spread around the world with commitments from 500 institutions with assets of over $3.4 Trillion dollars.
Norway’s national bank has advised the government to sell off nearly $35 billion in oil and natural gas holdings from its sovereign wealth fund. A momentous step for a major fossil fuel producing country. Much of Norway’s sovereign wealth stems from oil and gas production over the last several decades.
Today with only six percent of the fund invested in fossil fuels, the country has witnessed a fast-growing solar power sector. Solar installations rose by 366 percent between 2015 and 2016.
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org applauded the move comparing Norway’s proposal to, “the moment when the Rockefellers divested the world’s oldest oil fortune.” In 2014, the heirs to Standard Oil said that if founder John D. Rockefeller were alive in the 21st century, “he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy.”
McKibben added “This is the biggest pile of money on the planet, most of it derived from oil—but that hasn’t blinded its owners to the realities of the world we now inhabit.”
Producers of Fossil Fuels Sued
Climate advocates hailed a “watershed” moment when the city of New York announced that they were seeking billions in damages in a lawsuit against the giants of Fossil Fuels.
British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil were the five defendants named in the lawsuit that alleges that the fossil fuel industry was aware, for decades, that burning their fuels was driving global warming. New York’s lawsuit follows similar suits filed by seven cities and counties in California.
Investigative journalist Naomi Klein stated “Today was an incredible day….hearing the mayor of the biggest city in the richest country on earth announce a lawsuit against 5 oil majors for climate damages AND fossil fuel divestment? Wow. We needed this. We will build on it.”
This lawsuit, echoes the continuing legal actions against Big Tobacco, with results seen in a $23.6 Billion judgement against RJ Reynolds in 2014.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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